Freaky Friday…

On 9 January the Vatican Insider reported an interesting “Easter egg” that had cropped up in Google Translate: from Italian “Bergoglio” translated into all other languages as “better world”. On 3 January had reported the same phenomenon, but also noted that the sole exception was from Italian to Danish, which translated “Bergoglio” as “wrath (hævnen)”. notes that the effect did not appear in other translation engines.

I tried it myself, but the bug seems to have been fixed.

That’s not all, though.

Today (10 January) reported an even more bizarre glitch. Translating “Bergoglio” from Basque into any language yields “Antichrist”.

Come again?

Yep, I tried it myself and the glitch is still in effect.

For now.

Clearly some programmer had a little too much spiked egg nog over the holidays, or has chosen a very peculiar New Year’s resolution.

Good one, you “little monsters” inside Google!

About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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9 Responses to Freaky Friday…

  1. Branch says:

    Or, “there are no coincidences”?

  2. I’d like to understand better how Google Translate generates its lexical database. My understanding is that it’s a reinforcement network that adapts translations based on user search activity and changing preferences for alternate terms. IOW, since “Bergoglio” is a surname, and therefore not found in normal lexical databases, is Google Translate assuming that it means “better world” and “Antichrist” based on the global frequency of those terms being linked in Google searches? Does the translation, IOW, reflect the majority of users’ inquiries?

  3. padreallen says:

    Most surnames appear to be translated exactly as entered. (I tried a few early this morning.)

  4. Tony Jokin says:

    I think, in using the little knowledge I know, it is impossible that a Pope be the Anti-Christ himself.

    The reason I think that is if a Pope were the antichrist, then it means that the devil now rules the Church here on earth. In other words, the gates of hell have conquered the Church and put one of their own in power (I don’t think it is unfair to say “conquered” given that the faithful are loyal in such a scenario). So I think it is perhaps a truth that necessarily follows from Catholic doctrine that such a thing is impossible. Vatican I, we could say further confirms it by its pronouncements on the Papacy.

  5. Perhaps of some interest (ignore the odd formatting, the meat is in the Denzinger citation):

  6. c matt says:

    Oglio could be a phonetic mutation of occhio, “eye”. Berg is a German form of “mountain”. Assuming Bergie’s ancestry hails from Northern Italy, where there is a fair amount of southern German crossover, it could mean “Eye mountain” or “Eye of the mountain” or even “Eye atop the Mountain.” An eye atop a mountain would see all — HE IS SAURON!!!



  8. Branch says:

    I’m not sure but it’s a good question. It’s particularly intriguing the link between “Bergoglio” and “better world” – more so than “Antichrist”. What would have fueled such a search?

  9. Tony Jokin says:

    I must admit that even with your warning, it took me multiple reads to actually understand all the details in the post. The formatting just threw me off. Then after reading the specific text and surrounding areas in the Denzinger did I understand the post 🙂 (Because at first I was puzzled if the post was saying Denzinger actually mentions a heretical statement of John Hus as true. Then I realized it was the listing of errors of John Hus in Denzinger that contained the text.).

    But I don’t think the conclusion that the poster made that “If the Pope were the devil himself we should obey him” follows from it. Because John Hus’s statement could have been in error on not just one but two counts.
    1. For stating it as a possibility that the Pope can be the limb of the devil.
    2. For stating that a wicked Pope has no Divine authority over the Church

    So I think its a mistake to then say that because John Hus’s statement was condemned, it follows that we should obey the Pope even if he was the Devil.

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